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2014/2015  KAN-CPSYV3001U  Applied Neuro Creativity

English Title
Applied Neuro Creativity

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Third Quarter, First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Psychology, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Bo Christensen - Department of Marketing (Marketing)
The course is taught by Morten Friis-Olivarius and Balder Onaheim

Secretary Merete Skaalum Lassen - ml.marktg@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Communication
  • Marketing
Last updated on 22-04-2014
Learning objectives
The course is based on teaching the students how to utilize their existing knowledge and any domain expertise in a more creative way, building personal creative competencies as well as collaborative creative skills. The students are expected to gain a better understanding of entrepreneurship and the related creative processes, as well as understanding how their own knowledge can be utilized in entrepreneurial projects. The course is furthermore utilizing cross-disciplinary teams to facilitate exchange of knowledge and competencies across various disciplines, building competencies within cross-disciplinary work.
  • Understand and implement creativity, in any kind of problem solving.
  • Understand the theoretical concepts of creativity, being able to reflect on the relationship between creativity theory and creative practice. The main focus is on the five key concepts from the neuroscience of creativity, and how these can be utilized in real world creative processes.
  • Understand the underlying brain processes involved in creative thought, how the brain make and connects associations and how these processes can have constraining effects.
  • Be familiar with various creative tools, able to use them in practice and relate them to the neurobiology and psychology of creativity.
  • Understand the important role of creativity in entrepreneurship, and reflect on how own competencies can be utilized in entrepreneurial projects.
  • Gain experience in working with a real world company, and reflect on how an entrepreneurial mindset can be utilized in any kind of creative process.
  • Understand the difference between cross- and multidisciplinary teamwork, and the importance of teamwork in creativity and entrepreneurship.
  • Learn to utilize own knowledge creatively as part of a multidisciplinary team in an entrepreneurial project.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Number of mandatory activities: 1
Compulsory assignments (assessed approved/not approved)
After the first part of the course, there will be a mandatory individual ‘half way’ hand-in (max. 3 pages, fail/pass), summarizing the neurological and psychological aspects of creativity from the theories introduced in the first part of the course. The students must pass the 'half way' hand-in. If a student - due to documented illness or failed attempt - does not pass the assignment, the student will be given a final chance to retake this part of the course by handing in a new assignment within two weeks from the initial ‘half way’ hand-in date.
Written Assignment:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Report
Duration 2 weeks to prepare
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn Term and Spring Term
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure
After the course, each student hand in an individual project (max. 15 A4 pages), which is a written report reflecting the individual learning process as well as the group process. The group work is done in teams of approximately 3-5 students. The individual project should describe the theoretical aspects of creativity taught in the course in relation to the actual creative process experienced during the course, key learning’s and reflections on the individual creative process as well as the team process and the result from the team work.
In the report, the student must demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the creative process that lead to the outcome of the group work as well as comprehensive knowledge of the creative theories, creative methods and models that have been dealt with during the course and in the curriculum.
The final grade is given based on the individual project.  
The make-up and re-examination regulations are the same as for the ordinary exam.
Course content and structure
Creativity lies at the core of all human behavior – in teaching, research, invention, innovation, entrepreneurship, management and leadership and so forth. By understanding what creativity is and the basic mechanisms that enables us to be creative, anyone can work in a targeted manner to improve his or her creativity. Once creative thinking is understood, a key feature is knowing when to apply creative thinking and when to balance with critical thinking.
There is a common belief that certain people possess some mystical, creative thought process that places them above all others in their unique skills for having creative and groundbreaking thought. Naturally, this is nothing but a myth. By understanding what creativity is, and learning how to identify and manipulate various creativity constraints – both practical and mental (neurological constraints) – anyone can learn how to utilize their personal skills and competencies creatively.
During the course the students will learn how creative knowledge and techniques can be applied to solve any kind of problem - in any domain, which constitutes a strong competitive advantage, both on an individual and an organizational level. The main focus of the course is on how to utilize creativity in projects, emphasizing the entrepreneurial approaches to challenging established structures and though patterns.
To achieve this, students are introduced to the underlying mechanisms of what is commonly known as creativity, through research from neuroscience and psychology, and are guided through an exploration of various creative tools and methods. In parallel, students work in teams employing this knowledge to solve a real-world creative challenge from one or more companies. The teams of students will thus go through an informed real world creative process, while applying key concepts from the neuroscience of creativity.
The purpose of the course is not necessarily becoming an entrepreneur, but learning how to think like one when faced with any kind of problem – through employing a reflective creative process. Furthermore, this contributes to an understanding of entrepreneurship, and how to employ own competencies to think strategically about innovation. Students will not only benefit from learning to think like entrepreneurs, they will also acquire new skills through collaboration across disciplines.
Teaching methods
The course is based on 'studio teaching', known from creative education. The course is therefore taught in CBS Studio, with a focus on short lectures followed by multidisciplinary team work with close supervision. In this way, students also learn to utilize existing and new knowledge in collaboration with students from various backgrounds. Active participation is therefore a crucial part of this course, and all students are expected to attend all sessions.

To enhance the multidisciplinary of the course and to support with supervision, guests from professional practice and teaching are invited to supplement the teachers throughout the course. Furthermore, one or more companies are brought in to supply the teams with real world creative challenges to be solved during the course.

The course is divided into two, where the first part is focusing on theory, models, creative tools and the creative process ‘the double diamond’. In the second part, the students will work in multidisciplinary teams on implementing this knowledge by solving the creative entrepreneurship challenge. This structure allows the students to unite theory and practice through collaboration and supervision.
Further Information
Changes in course schedule may occur
Wednesday 13.30-17.00, week 36-43
Expected literature
Mandatory readings
- Onarheim, B. and Friis-Olivarius, M. (2013). Applying the neuroscience of creativity to creativity training. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 7:656.
- Friis-Olivarius, M. (in press). The Neurobiology of Creativity
- Friis-Olivarius, M. and Onarheim, B. (in press). The Five Key Concepts of NeuroCreativity
- Onarheim, B. & Biskjaer, M.M. (2014). Balancing Constraints and the Sweet Spot as Coming Topics for Creativity Research. In: L. Ball, ed. Creativity in Design: understanding, capturing, supporting.
- Onarheim, B. & Biskjaer, M.M. (2013). An Introduction to ‘Creativity Constraints’. Proceedings of The XXIV ISPIM Conference - Innovating in Global Markets: Challenges for Sustainable Growth Conference held in Helsinki, Finland on 16 to 19 June 2013. ISBN ISBN 978-952-265-421-2.
- Onarheim, B. (2012). Creativity from constraints in engineering design: Lessons learned at Coloplast. Journal of Engineering Design, vol: 23, issue: 4, pp. 323-336
- Ward, T. B. (2004). Cognition, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Journal of business venturing, 19(2), 173-188.
- Whiting, B. G. (1988), Creativity and Entrepreneurship: How Do They Relate? The Journal of Creative Behavior, 22: 178–183. doi: 10.1002/​j.2162-6057.1988.tb00495.x
- Nyström, H. (1993), Creativity and Entrepreneurship. Creativity and Innovation Management, 2: 237–242. doi: 10.1111/​j.1467-8691.1993.tb00102.x
- Smith (2003). The constraining effects of initial ideas.
- Dix et al. (2006). Why bad ideas are a good idea.
- Design Council (2005). A study of the design process - The Double Diamond.
- Dorst, C. H. (2006). Design Problems and Design Paradoxes. Design Issues, 22(3), pp. 4-17. MIT Press.
- Mednick, S.A. (1962). The associative basis of the creative process, Psychological review, vol. 69, pp. 220-232. (12p)
- Rickards, T., and Moger, S., (2000). “Creative leadership processes in project team development: An alternative to Tuckman’s stage model”, from “British Journal of Management”, Part 4, pp. 273-283
- Runco, M.A, Okuda, S.M. (1988) “Problem discovery, divergent thinking, and the creative process”, from “Journal of Youth and Adolescence”, June 1988, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp. 211-220
- Selvi, K. (2007). “Learning and creativity,” in “Phenomenology of Life from the Animal Soul to the Human Mind (Vol. 2)”, ed. A. T. Tymieniecka (Springer Netherlands), pp. 351–370.
The list is subject to change, and additional material will be available on LEARN prior to the start of the class.
Last updated on 22-04-2014